Baby steps in the right direction, at last. A three-judge panel upheld Florida's open carry ban in the state, citing constitutional authority to regulate how and where guns may be carried.
Orlando Sentinel reports:
The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal stemmed from the 2012 arrest in Fort Pierce of Dale Norman, who was carrying a gun in a holster. A jury found Norman guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor charge, leading to the appeal on constitutional grounds.
The appeals court said the state law does not "destroy the core right of self-defense enshrined in the Second Amendment" and in part of the Florida Constitution that guarantees the right to keep and bear arms. Also it pointed to the ability of people to get concealed-weapons permits.
The ruling described the case as presenting a question of "first impression" about whether the Second Amendment forbids the state from banning the open carrying of firearms while allowing people to carry concealed weapons under a permitting system. In legal terms, a question of "first impression" indicates a first-of-its-kind decision.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit had a pretty lame argument for why open carry should stand, too.
"The state cannot ban open carry,'' said the brief, which also traced the history of gun laws in Florida. "It is the core of the right to bear arms. When every court to consider the issue has ruled that concealed carry is a privilege, and if you accept that there is a right to bear arms as the plain language states, there is only one manner in which firearms can be borne in the exercise of the right — openly."
The idea that concealed weapons permits imply a default to open carry is preposterous. Common sense dictates caution on that front, since there's absolutely no reason for citizens to swagger around with assault weapons on their backs or handguns on their hip. Are they good guys? Are they bad guys? How exactly are police and ordinary citizens supposed to evaluate friend or foe in split-second decisions?
The appellate court relied on specific provisions in the Florida Constitution.
In its ruling, the appeals court emphasized the role of the Florida Constitution, which it said, "unlike the U.S. Constitution, explicitly states that the manner in which guns are borne can be regulated."
"In fact, no controlling authority has been presented to this court for the proposition that the Legislature may not impose some restrictions and conditions on either the method or manner that lawful arms may be carried outside the home,'' the ruling said. "In fact, the plain wording of the Florida Constitution provides explicit support for the state's position that it may regulate the open carry of firearms."
Florida has a strong vested interest in tamping down ammosexuals' fervor. The state has a vibrant tourist industry that could dry up if people start showing up at Disney World with their AR-15s on their back or patrolling the beach with a handgun in their Speedos.
I'm sure we haven't seen the end of this case yet, but this is a significant ruling nevertheless.